Don’t Waste a Drop — Summer Care and Irrigation

Narrow depth of field Sprinkler head sprinkles water on grass with bokeh backgound

Water conservation is a big deal. It’s not just something “everyone else” should think about because water waste impacts each one of us. With just a few tweaks to our own routines, we can make positive impacts toward water economy. 

Our water usage can increase as much as 50% in summer because of outdoor watering. The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) provides water service to 10 counties and 2 million people in North Texas. Its Water My Yard program (WaterMyYard.org) is a free tool available to neighbors since 2013, via a mobile app or e-account. 

Helen Dulac, Public Education Manager for NTMWD says, “The Water My Yard program uses local weather station data from 17 cities to provide free weekly watering advice from Texas A&M AgriLife to nearly 17,000 subscribers in our service area.” This weather data allows for precise water recommendations sent in a weekly outdoor report, to customize watering solutions based on what kind of grass, soil and sprinkler system each homeowner has. 

“For 2021, based on local weather station data, our lawns only needed watering 16 weeks out of the entire year. There were 36 weeks during 2021 when WaterMyYard.org recommended not to water your grass. By not watering twice a week, every week, a homeowner can save a lot of water.” she says adding, these figures are averages. Some areas needed more irrigation and some areas needed less. 

NTMWD’s Water My Yard tool helps not only native and long-time area residents rein in unnecessary water usage, but informs those newly relocated to North Texas – ones who are unfamiliar with our soils and climate. This tool takes the guesswork out of watering. 

Sprinklers water the grass in the early morning and excess water runs off into the sidewalk.file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=6271260

According to the EPA, “The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. In addition, some experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.”

Click to learn more from WaterSense, an EPA Partnership Program

“We are fortunate here to be able to water up to twice a week. There are regions where residents can’t do that. To keep our water reservoirs at good levels during the hot, dry summer, interact with your sprinkler controller once a week so you don’t set it and forget it.” 

Dulac pointed out some important facts consumers might miss: 

  • Change perspectives on what a healthy lawn should look like. Don’t be afraid of a brown or tan yard. Many common North Texas grasses go dormant in summer, so that bright green color isn’t necessarily best for a particular grass. Once the weather is cooler, those grasses will green-up. 
  • Soil moisture meters can measure water in the soil, giving an indication of watering needs. 
  • Pay attention to the sprinkler system, change the program as needed, and adjust misaligned spray heads. 
  • Clay soil in North Texas does best with the “cycle and soak” method. Run more cycles for shorter times. Clay soils need more time to soak up water, or it runs off and is wasted. 
  • Consider risks. Grass can get diseases from overwatering. 
  • When you conserve, you have the biggest impact by saving time, water and money. 

“The North Texas Municipal Water District highly values Water My Yard. We want it to be useful and accurate. With that in mind, we are conducting a three-year turf grass study at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center at Dallas and this data will be used as informative content on WaterMyYard.org. Grasses common in our neighborhoods here along with new-to-the-market grasses will be planted and studied, testing for water tolerance.” she says. “One is a brand-new drought-tolerant St. Augustine grass which will be extensively tested.” This grass will be widely available in about three years, and will be an alternative to high-water grasses.”

Close-up of a pop-up sprinkler spray head.

“The best and most affordable water for the future is the water we can save today,” Dulac says. 

Want to save water? Learn more at ntmwd.com/savewater, WaterMyYard.org, and follow @NTMWD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) and Texas A&M AgriLife is hosting a virtual lunch and learn series on lawn care and irrigation. These classes are free and taught by subject matter experts who will explain how to program & repair sprinkler systems, care for lawns during the Texas summer and even how to convert standard sprinkler systems to drip irrigation. Plus, there is a native plant giveaway! See the list of classes below or visit www.ntmwd.com/classes/ for more information. 

July 12 at 12 p.m.: Sprinkler Secrets – What the Spray!
Sprinkler systems don’t have to be a mystery. Getting to know your system is one of the best ways to save time, money, and water in your landscape.
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/363338975657 

July 19 at 12 p.m.: Efficient Irrigation Systems – Easy Repairs and Trouble Shooting.
The smallest fixes can make the biggest difference when it comes to your sprinkler system.
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/363341031807 

Aug 2 at 12 p.m.: Beat the Heat, North Texas Summer Lawn Care Guide
Great lawn management means not only adopting the right practices but implementing them at the right time to work for YOU.
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/363340710847 

Aug 23 at 12 p.m.: What’s in the box? Demystifying Your Sprinkler Controller
Understanding your sprinkler system controller is essential to program your sprinkler system to work best for you and your landscape.
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/363351593397 

Aug 30 at 12 p.m.: Don’t Waste a Drop – Drip Irrigation Basics
Drip irrigation is one of the most efficient ways to water plants, as it follows one of the most important principles of efficient watering: low and slow. Learn how to save water. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/363352124987 

Native Plant Giveaway – A Special Thank You 

This class series is brought to you by the North Texas Municipal Water District. Each time you attend one of these free, virtual classes, you will earn an entry for a drawing for up to five native plants. The maximum number of entries for one person is seven. Each class you attend is an entry for the drawing. You must log in for the class and stay for at least thirty minutes to validate your entry. There will be 1-4 randomly selected winners. Each winner will receive up to five native plants. The plants are in one gallon pots and must be picked up at 501 E. Brown St, Wylie TX during normal business hours by September 15, 2022. Exact time and details of pick up will be coordinated with each winner. Winners will be contacted through the email used to register for the online class in order to arrange for a pickup date/time. If a winner does not respond to the email within 2 business days, or pick up the plants as arranged, they will forfeit their prize and a new winner will be selected. Prize deliveries are not available. 

Giveaway Details 

This class is one of a series of 7 brought to you by the North Texas Municipal Water District. Each time you attend one of these free, virtual classes, you earn an entry for a drawing for up to 5 native plants. The maximum number of entries for one person is 7. Each class you attend is an entry for the drawing. You must log in the class and stay for at least thirty minutes. The plants are in one gallon pots and must be picked up at 501 E Brown St, Wylie TX during September 2022. Prize deliveries are not available. Exact time and details of pick up will be coordinated with each winner. There will be 1-4 randomly selected winners. Each winner will receive up to 5 native plants. Winners will be contacted through the email used to register for the online class. If a winner does not respond to the email within 2 days, or pick up the plants on the agree upon day, a new winner will be selected. 

Water Is Awesome 

City of Dallas, North Texas Municipal Water District and Tarrant Regional Water District have teamed up on a regional water conservation campaign to increase the adoption of water saving behaviors, reduce water waste and promote the importance of water and the value it provides in our communities. The plants in this giveaway were used in the 2022 Water is Awesome video, Water Neighborly. The plants came from Texas Discovery Gardens, a non-profit native garden and butterfly house in Dallas, Texas. 

NTMWD Classes

 

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